madosini

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Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Madosini was born in 1922 in a village called Mqhekezweni in the  Eastern Cape province of South Africa. She is considered a national treasure and also one of the most important figures of Xhosa traditional music. As a young girl, she was taught by her mother to play the uhadi, umrhube and isitolotolo, all traditional Xhosa music instruments. At the same time, she began writing songs and also making her own instruments.

Madosini cannot read or write, and only speaks Xhosa. Colonisation and Apartheid and have led to the gradual disappearance of the culture of oral literature that was once so key to Xhosa society. Madosini believes that it is her responsibility to carry on with the traditions of story telling and to pass these gifts on to the next generation of Xhosa musicians.

Images via Simon Lewis Photography